The fire tragedy on December 17 in one of government-owned ESIC (Employee State Insurance Corporation) hospitals located at Andheri East in government-owned again exposed the fact that even at the heart of India’s financial capital, fire safety mechanisms are not free from paralysis.
In the 2006-15, the city has seen more than 600 people lost their lives due to fire alone in Mumbai. Short-Circuit was the reason for 75% of the blazes. In the past 2 years, the situation hasn’t improved. It went down miserably.
Here is the list of 5 major mishaps in the last 2 years:
1. 12 persons killed in a deadly fire in Mumbai’s Saki Naka locality
On the wee hours of December 18, 2017, 12 people – all migrant labourers – were killed in a massive fire that engulfed a snack shop on Khairani Road in the Saki Naka locality of the Mumbai. People who died inside the compound got trapped while working and could get the exit to save their lives.
2. Fire at Maimoon building, Marol:
A fire broke out at Maimoon building in Mumbai’s Marol area on January 4, 2018, in which four people were killed along with injuring five others. The fire broke out at around 1:30 am on the fourth floor of the building at Marol in Andheri East.
3. Fire at Techniplus one building in Goregaon:
Around five months later on the unfortunate evening of May 27, a major fire erupted at Techniplus one building in Mumbai’s Goregaon at around 5 pm killing four people. The deadly fire also injured a total of nine people which included eight firemen.
4. Fire in Lalmati Slum opposite to Bandra fire station:
On October 30, a massive fire blazed a slum colony at Lalmati locality opposite to Bandra Fire Station on Nagardas Road in Mumbai. Though the fire was rated as level-3, fortunately, no casualties were reported. The deadly fire engulfed the whole slum, mainly inhabited by the migrant labourers and their families. This time too the cause of the fire was said to be the explosion of a gas cylinder.
5. Fire in ESIC Hospital:
The deadly blaze which was ranked as a level-3 fire, killed six people while 176 people got seriously injured including three firemen. On Tuesday two more casualties were reported taking the total death toll to eight.
How accidents become the disasters?
Short circuits and cylinder explosion are unpredictable and inevitable. They could be reduced due to safe practices but cannot be eradicated completely. Though, fatalities could be reduced due to fires.
The ESIC hospital didn’t have the Fire compliance certificate. Though they had applied for it but how is it possible that a hospital that big (and that too Government-run) is not following the standards?
No accident can become a disaster if it is mitigated at the right time. Having no fire compliance, crowded areas having low safety standards doesn’t help any. The government should rather think about ‘completing’ the work than ‘finishing’ it.